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Are Grocery Taxes Keeping People From Food They Need?

New AAEA member research looks at impact tax has on food insecurity

There are currently 14 states with a tax on groceries. Some are statewide, others vary by county. Either way, there are big concerns about those taxes impacting peoples’ ability to get the food they need.

In Alabama, for example, people have bumper stickers that read “untax groceries,” and there are movements in other states to raise awareness of the consequences of these taxes and food insecurity – the measure of how people have access to affordable and nutritious food.

“We saw a clear correlation between food insecurity and food taxes,” said Norbert L. Wilson, professor at Auburn University and lead author of “Do Grocery Food Sales Taxes Cause Food Insecurity?

Wilson and his co-authors found Wilson and his co-authors found household eligible for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) but did not receive SNAP benefits had higher rates of food insecurity when grocery taxes were applied.

“When individuals use their EBT card they are not charged the tax,” Wilson said. “Eligible non-SNAP participants would be better served if they used the benefits.”

Wilson will present his research as part of the 2016 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting in Boston, July 31 – August 2. The presentation is Tuesday, August 2, at 1:00 PM at the Marriott Copley Square, in the Vineyard Room on the fourth floor.

If you are interested in setting up an interview before or during the meeting, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.

Contact: Allison Scheetz
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190